Six Injury-Prevention Tips to Keep Your Athlete Healthy and Happy

Back to school means back to playing sports. Here are six injury-prevention tips to help ensure that your child is ready for the season.

Back to school means back to playing sports. Here are six injury-prevention tips to help ensure that your child is ready for the season.

Now more than ever, young athletes are pushing themselves to perform their best, often at the expense of their physical health. As a result, injury rates in youth athletics are on the rise. Sports medicine experts at Stanford Children’s Health have put together a few injury prevention tips to help prevent your child from getting injured:

Make sure that he or she is prepared for the upcoming season.

During an athlete’s season, much of the time is focused on sports-specific training to ensure that athletes are game ready. It is important to create a conditioning program focusing on strength, power, speed and coordination that they can utilize in the off-season or during a less intense point in the season. Children of 8 years and older are advised to use this type of conditioning program under supervision. Here is a link where you can sign up your child for our small-group and one-on-one training sessions: athletedevelopment.stanfordchildrens.org.

Remember to always warm up before playing.

Playing a sport puts a lot of strain on children’s bodies, so it is essential that they do a dynamic warm-up to prevent injuries from occurring and improve their performance. This includes 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic activity followed by active flexibility exercises like high knees, butt kicks, skipping, and arm circles. These should be specific to your child’s sport, so that his muscle fibers and nervous system are ready to perform at their best.

Gradually modify training schedules based on your athlete’s season.

Overuse and traumatic injuries happen primarily when the volume or intensity of a sport suddenly increases. After taking a few days off due to a minor injury or illness, your child should slowly be incorporated back into her sport with a modified training day. If returning from a brief rest period before the season starts, your child’s body needs time to adapt. Doing a daily jog or cycle followed by a dynamic warm-up and strengthening exercises will prep her body for competition.

Have your child listen to his body!

If he has any areas on his body that are tight or painful, it is important that he spend extra time warming them up and icing the sore areas after training or practice. Small injuries may seem insignificant, but ignoring them prolongs the symptoms and can eventually lead to a major injury. If needed, having a few short days of modified training will help resolve a minor injury and ensure that your child does not miss out on any playing time.

Good nutrition and sleep habits will ensure that her body can perform at its best.

Hydration and eating post-activity meals is essential in making sure that your child’s muscles have the fuel they require to perform. The body best replenishes the muscles’ fuel, glycogen, 30 to 45 minutes after training or competition. Having a small protein-rich snack or drink directly after activity will improve recovery and performance for the next day. As a growing athlete, your child should also be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep per night.

Make sure that the child has an off-season.

Training and competing year-round drastically increases burnout, injury rates and fatigue. Taking at least four weeks off each calendar year gives your athlete a break from the rigors of the sport. Engaging in other sports or physical activity during this off time is advised.

The Children’s Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center at Stanford Children’s Health includes a team of sports medicine physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers who work with kids of all ages. To schedule an appointment, please call 844-41-ORTHO.

Authors

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)